Did you realize today is Friday the 13th? Did you also know that there will be a full moon tonight? These two events have not occurred for (Gasp 13 years) (August 13th, 2000). Not only that did you also know that there is psychological term for those who are deathly afraid of Friday the 13th? Paraskevidekatriaphobia is a concentration of the Greek words Paraskeví (Παρασκευή, meaning “Friday”), and dekatreís (δεκατρείς, meaning “thirteen”) attached to phobía (φοβία, from phóbos, φόβος, meaning “fear”). (
What is it about this day that causes such irrational fear in the hearts of so many? Is it only an American thing or do people world wide have the same fears?
For those of you still reading, lets take a look at the two entities (Friday) and the (number 13th) and see if we can fashion a good understanding of the two.
The Number 13.
LEGEND HAS IT: If 13 people sit down to dinner together, one will die within the year (Jesus/Judas).
This myth has its origins in the Greek Gods,
Twelve gods were invited to a banquet at Valhalla. Loki, the Evil One, god of mischief, had been left off the guest list but crashed the party, bringing the total number of attendees to 13. True to character, Loki raised hell by inciting Hod, the blind god of winter, to attack Balder the Good, who was a favorite of the gods. Hod took a spear of mistletoe offered by Loki and obediently hurled it at Balder, killing him instantly. All Valhalla grieved. And although one might take the moral of this story to be “Beware of uninvited guests bearing mistletoe,” the Norse themselves apparently concluded that 13 people at a dinner party is just plain bad luck.
As if to prove the point, the Bible tells us there were exactly 13 present at the Last Supper. One of the dinner guests (Judas) betrayed Jesus Christ, setting the stage for the Crucifixion. Thus was born the myth that if you sit down with 13 people at a dinner party then one of them will die within a year.
The Turks so disliked the number 13 that it was practically expunged from their vocabulary (Brewer, 1894). Many cities do not have a 13th Street or a 13th Avenue. Many buildings don’t have a 13th floor. If you have 13 letters in your name, you will have the devil’s luck (Jack the Ripper, Charles Manson, Jeffrey Dahmer, Theodore Bundy and Albert De Salvo all have 13 letters in their names). There are 13 witches in a coven.
Blacks Cats and 13 Witches and more Gods
The name “Friday” was derived from a Norse deity worshipped on the sixth day, known either as Frigg (goddess of marriage and fertility), or Freya (goddess of sex and fertility), or both, the two figures having become intertwined in the handing down of myths over time (the etymology of “Friday” has been given both ways). Frigg/Freya corresponded to Venus, the goddess of love of the Romans, who named the sixth day of the week in her honor “dies Veneris.”
Friday was actually considered quite lucky by pre-Christian Teutonic peoples, we are told — especially as a day to get married — because of its traditional association with love and fertility. All that changed when Christianity came along. The goddess of the sixth day — most likely Freya in this context, given that the cat was her sacred animal — was recast in post-pagan folklore as a witch, and her day became associated with evil doings.
Various legends developed in that vein, but one is of particular interest: As the story goes, the witches of the north used to observe their sabbath by gathering in a cemetery in the dark of the moon. On one such occasion the Friday goddess, Freya herself, came down from her sanctuary in the mountaintops and appeared before the group, who numbered only 12 at the time, and gave them one of her cats, after which the witches’ coven — and, by “tradition,” every properly-formed coven since — comprised exactly 13.
Then we can look at more legends concerning Friday
LEGEND HAS IT: Never change your bed on Friday; it will bring bad dreams. If you cut your nails on Friday, you cut them for sorrow. Don’t start a trip on Friday or you will encounter misfortune. Ships that set sail on a Friday will have bad luck, as in the tale of H.M.S. Friday. One hundred years ago, the British government sought to quell the longstanding superstition among seamen that setting sail on Fridays was unlucky. A special ship was commissioned and given the name “H.M.S. Friday.” They laid her keel on a Friday, launched her on a Friday, selected her crew on a Friday, and hired a man named Jim Friday to be her captain. To top it off, H.M.S. Friday embarked on her maiden voyage on a Friday — and was never seen or heard from again.
In pagan Rome, Friday was execution day (later Hangman’s Day in Britain), but in other pre-Christian cultures it was the Sabbath, a day of worship, so those who indulged in secular or self-interested activities on that day could not expect to receive blessings from the gods — which may explain the lingering taboo on embarking on journeys or starting important projects on Fridays
Adam and Eve
It was on a Friday, supposedly, that Eve tempted Adam with the forbidden fruit. Adam bit, as we all learned in Sunday School, and they were both ejected from Paradise. Tradition also holds that the Great Flood began on a Friday; God tongue-tied the builders of the Tower of Babel on a Friday; the Temple of Solomon was destroyed on a Friday; and, of course, Friday was the day of the week on which Christ was crucified. It is therefore a day of penance for Christians.
Lastly we look at the Good Old Da Vinici code to shed some light the Friday the 13th association.
The decimation of the Knights Templar, the legendary order of “warrior monks” formed during the Christian Crusades to combat Islam. Renowned as a fighting force for 200 years, by the 1300s the order had grown so pervasive and powerful it was perceived as a political threat by kings and popes alike and brought down by a church-state conspiracy, as recounted by Katharine Kurtz in Tales of the Knights Templar (Warner Books, 1995):
Whoa there, you mean Friday the 13th has correlations to Greek Gods, Muslims, the Crucifixion, witches, Black Cats and in general just bad luck all around. And on top of that a Full Moon makes people act whacky? I am never leaving the house on Friday the 13th again!!
No worries guys in case you come across that Black cat today, he is probably not the 13th member of the witches coven, feed him some yummy kitty treats he is probably hungry, and if he is part of the coven, at least you made a friend. And if you have the misfortune of breaking a mirror today, no worries about 7years of bad luck, legend has it that if you burry the mirror underneath the light of a full moon by a tree, than those 7 years of bad luck will be neutralized.
And for those factual spirits out there, no worries about the real Friday the 13th, (The franchise was jus a movie) and the real studies have proven no real correlation to bad luck and Friday the 13th. Of course our drivers are out on the road “starting a journey” every day so I wish them the most luck and will slip them a nice rabbits foot or four leaf clover to help quell any fear,
Do you have any Friday the 13th tales or stories? We would love to hear them.
(All materials was taken from Urban Legends.com, USA Today, Wikipedia and WiseGeek.com)